Meet 2 of the Blue Angel pilots flying over San Francisco during Fleet Week

Luz Pena Image
Friday, October 6, 2023
Meet 2 of the Blue Angel pilots flying over SF for Fleet Week
ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to two Blue Angel pilots ahead of the shows in San Francisco for Fleet Week.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's Fleet Week and that means the Blue Angels are here in San Francisco! ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to two Blue Angel pilots ahead of the shows. One of them grew up in San Francisco and is getting ready to fly over his hometown.

"This is the show I have circled on my calendar every single year," said Lieutenant Commander Scott Goossens, Blue Angel pilot. "Definitely a pinch yourself moment. Getting up on the jet flying over the bay and getting to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing my house and high school was an incredible opportunity. It felt like a dream come true."

Blue Angel pilots serve a two year term. This is Lieutenant Commander Goossens second and last year as a Blue Angel. A dream that started back when he was just kid in San Francisco.

San Francisco Fleet Week 2023 schedule of events

"I remember being in school - no kidding looking out the window and the jets would be wheezing by and the teachers had no chance on keeping our attention on them, so they would let us go outside and watch the jets and I just remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world," said Goossens.

The flight formations of the Blue Angels require extreme precision and they are actually gearing up to fly at 700 miles per hour. That's just below the speed of sound.

Luz Pena: "What is the strategy when you are up there and you are doing those really close maneuvers? What are you thinking of?"

Scott Goossens: "I'm very focused. There is not a lot of room for thinking about anything else other than flying. We train relentlessly on this team. We do about 120 practice flights maybe even slightly more than that between the months of January and March."

VIDEO: Here's what the 'super cool' Navy ship tours at San Francisco Fleet Week have to offer

On board the U.S.S. John P. Murtha, visitors get to watch demonstrations, talk to sailors and marines, and check out military equipment.

Being a Blue Angel pilot is a coveted role. Pilots go through an intense vetting and training process. We met Commander Alex Armatas several hours before his first flight in San Francisco.

"I'm excited to get out there. I was here last year as we call it a "newbie" so I was just watching and learning from the team last year," said Commander Alex Armatas, Blue Angel pilot.

Last year, San Francisco's fog "Karl" blocked some of the show. This year, the Blue Angels has a message for Karl.

Alex Armatas: "We are hoping Karl will take it easy on us this weekend and stay off shore."

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